Tesco to expand its low-carbon fertiliser trial tenfold

Tesco has announced plans to increase its trials of low-carbon fertiliser products from 1,300ha this year to 13,000ha in 2024.

The UK’s largest retailer has also confirmed it will also roll out the trials to livestock farmers.

Potatoes, salad vegetables and carrots have already been grown as part of the trial, and initial results found it to be as effective as conventional fertilisers while also significantly reducing emissions.

See also: Tesco to trial low-carbon fertilisers with five growers

UK growers including Branston, G’s, Stourgarden, Huntapac Produce and TH Clements were involved in the initial rollout, and a number of alternative fertiliser products were tested.

They included:

  • Fibrophos A phosphorus and potash fertiliser produced by incinerating chicken litter
  • Phos Cycle Fertiliser made using reused phosphate and sulphate from expired fire extinguishers
  • Poly4 An organic, low-carbon fertiliser produced by mining giant Anglo American, which is created using the mined mineral polyhalite
  • CCm An organo-mineral fertiliser in pellet form, produced using waste carbon dioxide from industry, ammonia from the waste sector, and fibrous material from food waste and sewage sludge
  • R-Leaf A product from Crop Intellect that captures pollutants in the atmosphere, such as nitrogen oxide, and breaks it down into nitrates
  • Bio-F Solutions A biofertiliser produced from algae
  • Veolia The recycling company is making organic fertilisers using food waste and digestate from anaerobic digestion (AD) plants.

Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy said: “Innovations like low-carbon fertiliser are part of the solution. As the early results show, they have huge potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions, enhance soil health and water quality, as well as providing greater cost certainty for farmers, and create industry here in the UK – which is why I am so pleased with our plans to scale up usage next year.”

Mr Murphy also called on UK political parties to stand by their net-zero pledges in order to give businesses more confidence to invest.

“The food industry is willing to invest, but needs more stability and confidence when it comes to future policy,” he added.